Promenade, Grande Plage, Biarritz, France

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Half ritzy coastal resort, half summer surfers' hang-out, the seaside resort of Biarritz has been a favourite beach getaway since Napoléon III and his Spanish-born wife Eugénie arrived during the mid-19th century. Its elegant villas and heritage-listed residences, which glitter with belle époque and art deco details, have retained their glamour. Unfortunately the 20th century wasn't quite so kind, and the seafront is blessed with its fair share of concrete carbuncles that have done little to enhance its aesthetic appeal. Nevertheless, Biarritz remains one of the southwest's seaside gems and throngs with visitors in summer.


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